PSR applauds federal decision striking down Proposition 8

August 4, 2010

Pacific School of Religion and its Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry applaud U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The decision, along with Judge Joseph L. Tauro’s July 8, 2010 ruling in Massachusetts that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, forms the legal foundation for overturning all discriminatory laws against same-sex couples seeking marriage in states and municipalities throughout the country. The leadership of Pacific School of Religion and the executive director of the seminary’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), and clergy from diverse faith traditions celebrated this ruling and reissued a call for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in California and across the country. Their comments appear below:

Rev. Dr. Hubert G. Locke, acting president, Pacific School of Religion.
“At Pacific School of Religion we are deeply invested in the effort to achieve equality in all aspects of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and we applaud the federal court’s decision to overturn Proposition 8. Those who believe in justice and equality as foundational principles of American life cannot help but view this decision with extreme gratitude.”

Bernard Schlager, executive director, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.
“As people of faith we rejoice in this decision, which recognizes that marriage, a fundamental human right, should no longer be denied to same-sex couples in this country. The American values of fairness and equal treatment under the law have won out and we thank God that justice has prevailed.”

Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto, pastor, Glide Memorial Methodist Church, San Francisco.
“Today, love prevailed over hate and justice prevailed over fear, as this country moved closer to living out its core values of liberty and justice for all. We celebrate this important decision with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, knowing that where love is, God is there also.

Rev. Roland Stringfellow, coordinator, Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations.
“This is a great victory for the people of California. As ministers, rabbis, and spiritual leaders, we rejoice that Judge Walker has recognized the value and worth of all families with his decision.”

Rabbi Alan Bennett, Temple Israel, Alameda, CA.
“Today's ruling is an important step forward in a long and valiant march in the direction of justice and hope. This victory should energize us for the next part of our journey together. When that journey ends and we have achieved full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, all of us will be able to look back with gratitude for the chances we have had to make such a positive difference in people's lives.” 

Although Judge Walker and Judge Tauro’s decisions concern the contractual civil marriage framework as regulated by the state, many faith traditions in America also provide religious blessings for same-sex couples, including Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, some congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), some Episcopal churches, and some Baptist churches. The Web-based CLGS Marriage Project (www.clgs.org/marriage) is designed to assist religious communities in these important efforts by providing scholarly and religious resources with the aim of promoting views of marriage that are more open, just, and inclusive.

A multidenominational Christian seminary in Berkeley, California, Pacific School of Religion has been preparing bold leaders for historic and emerging faith communities since 1866. PSR’s graduates are known for innovative ministries of compassion and justice around the world—in urban and rural parishes, on city streets and college campuses, in the arts, public policy, and many other fields. PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of seminaries and institutes in the Bay Area. For more information, please visit: www.psr.edu.

Founded in 2000, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion is the first seminary-based center for the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. The Center works to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community-building, and advocacy. Visit the Center's Web site at www.clgs.org or call 510/849-8206.